Wednesday, May 14, 2014

KUDOS TO THE GOVERNMENT

Those of you who have followed my postings on the Veteran's Support Bill on this and other forums will have picked that I didn't think the Bill, which gives effect to many of the 170 recommendations of the Law Commission's Report into the War Pensions Act 1954, went far enough.

The Government (any Government) owes a debt of gratitude to those it puts in harms way.   All decisions that impact on our veteran community should reflect a certain generosity of spirit.

I am therefore delighted with the announcement a few hours ago that the Government has agreed to extend eligibility for the Veteran's Pension to all veterans with operational service.    At present eligibility is limited to those in receipt of the War Disability Pension at the 70% level or above.

The Veteran's Pension is paid at the same level as NZ Superannuation.   The new tranche of veterans will, in addition, receive a Community Services Card as of right and regardless of income while the pension itself will continued unabated should they go into long term hospital care (as opposed to those in receipt of NZ Superannuation where the payment is reduced to pocket money level).

This announcement means that another 16,700 veterans will be eligible for the pension.

I want to pay special tribute to Mike Sabin, MP for Northland and Alfred Ngaro, List MP, for their strong and continuing advocacy on behalf of our veteran community.    Mike is an ex Naval officer with strong family links to the RNZN while Alfred paid a major role in helping to get a special pension for Bill Franheim, a four tour veteran resident in the Cook Islands.   

My understanding is that Minister Dunne also was closely involved in drawing up the policy.   It has the support of both the ACT and United Future Parties.  The numbers are there.    It's a done deal (no pun intended). 

8 comments:

Noel said...

Is that all Veterans or those over 80 as suggested by the LC?

Watcher said...

"A Surviving Spouses Pension is also available to the partners of veterans who have died while on specified service or, if they were in receipt of a War Disablement Pension of at least 70% when at the time of death, or their death is attributable to their service. These payments are not taxed and paid for the surviving partners lifetime unless they remarry or enter into a civil union or de facto relationship."

Will this also apply with threshold change?

Noel said...

"Will this also apply with threshold change?"

Good question. If yes then the premise of carer status of the spouse implied by the 70% threshold will have changed without any corresponding recognition of the spouses input into the management of a war related injury.

Maybe time to consider the Aussie example of a carers payment.


Watcher said...

"Is that all Veterans or those over 80 as suggested by the LC?"

No the figure suggests all Veterans.

Something Labour and NZ First were advocating at the Select Committee.

Labours difference would be a change in the funeral grant from $2500 to $5700. Either way it's got to be a cheap send off on todays costs.

The Veteran said...

Watcher/Noel ... read my post. The new tranche of vets eligible for the VP will receive a CSC as of right. In addition the (non) abatement provisions will apply.

Their estate will not be eligible for either the funeral grant or their spouses/partners for the surviving spousal pension on death ... These two add-ons remain limited to our severely disabled veterans. They acknowledge their high level of disablement and the additional burden on those that cared for them.



The Veteran said...

Watcher 4.15 ... wrong. Phil Goff's SOP (441) does not advocate the lifting of the funeral grant .... it doesn't even mention it.

Noel said...

Noel ... read my post.
and have checked the VANZ site and concede that point.

When the LC recommended it to those over 80 I said in my opinion it was changing it to a survivors pension.

With the change to all it is now an acknowledgement of service.

But that doesn't change how it came about i.e to mitigated the woeful WPD.

Without meaningful change to the WPD nothings changed.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... what's the WPD?